The MVP is not the same thing as the best player. An MVP has to come from a winning team. The best pitcher has the most wins. The manager of the year has to be a comeback story.
These are some of the many silly fictions of awards voting. Especially that first one because, man, you think that the BBWAA would’ve invented an award for the best player by now, but some folks would have you believe they never have.
Today Joe Posnanski takes those ideas — he calls them the Four Points of Awards Voting — and explains why he disagrees with them. In doing so he doesn’t scorch the Earth, Brian Kenny-style in explaining why anyone who adheres to them is foolishly walking in the forest of ignorance. He acknowledges that all of these ideas have been drilled into our heads for years and that, because of them, you have to at least engage them.
And when Posnanski engages something, well, he’s quite engaging.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.